General Crime

Sonoma County Jail Inmate Found Dead in Cell After Drug Arrest

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An inmate booked into the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility in Santa Rosa on Friday was found dead Saturday night in a unit for inmates going through drug withdrawals, the sheriff’s office reported today. At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, a nurse dispensing medication in a special housing unit at the jail found the inmate unresponsive inside a cell, sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said.

After a correctional deputy could not detect a pulse, other jail personnel were called to the scene and paramedics arrived but life-saving attempts failed and the inmate was pronounced dead at 9:49 p.m., deputies said. The inmate, who is not being identified until family members are notified, was arrested and booked into the jail Friday on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, bringing a controlled substance into a jail and violating felony probation, according to Focha.

Jail medical employees screened the inmate and because the person had an extensive history of substance abuse and associated medical concerns, the suspect was assigned to a special housing unit for inmates going through withdrawals from drug abuse, deputies said. The inmate was placed into a cell in the unit at about 9:40 p.m. on Friday, Focha said.

The person awoke Saturday morning and correctional deputies accounted for the inmate in twice-hourly rounds, deputies said. There is no indication of injury or foul play and the circumstances behind the inmate’s death are still under investigation, according to Focha. Detectives of the sheriff’s office are conducting the investigation, she said.

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